The world of sports hasn’t always been welcoming to LGBTQ+ people. The struggle is real, and the fight continues for trans people to be accepted in various leagues, organizations, and competitions that are currently excluding them. Thankfully, though, there has been some progress when it comes to the general acceptance of queer people in sports.
So far, at least one athlete has come out as gay in every major sports league in the United States. Some of these athletes who came out faced a high-risk situation that made a dent in their careers. Meanwhile, certain gay athletes have managed to sustain their careers despite opening up about their sexual orientations.
Whether they were able to continue their careers in sports or had to pivot to other endeavors, these gay athletes have found ways to persevere and be successful on their own terms. Some of them are still actively competing in different championships and leagues, while others are now focusing on releasing books, appearing on TV, creating content for social media, launching fitness programs, or simply living their best lives.
Also, they are so, so hot.
Scroll through to learn more about the sexy gay athletes who make us sweat, and make sure to follow them on Instagram.
AEW wrestler Anthony Bowens has been a high-profile out gay athlete in the world of wrestling – which is largely dominated by straight males. Having officially come out in 2019, Bowens has been in a long-term relationship with YouTuber and actor Michael Pavano for many years.
Canadian diver Bryden Hattie is one of the best in competitive swimming. At only 22-years-old he’s already a World Cup winner, SEC Diver of the Year, aspiring Team Canada Olympian, was recently profiled by Out Sports, and has amassed 1.3 million likes on TikTok.
Before becoming a star of The Bachelor universe Colton Underwood was a professional football player in the NFL. After starring on the hit dating show Underwood came out saying he had finally come to terms with his sexuality and the "next step in all of this was sort of letting people know."
Australian rugby star opened up about his sexual fluidity during an interview the Sydney Morning Herald last year. "Sexuality is very fluid. I've been out and kissed many gay men, kissed many straight women, and kissed many gay women."
"I'm not a one-stop shop. Love is love, and I love to share it with everyone. That's probably why I love going to all the gay bars in Sydney as well. I love dancing with my shirt off and getting down Universal on Oxford Street until 2 a.m.," he added.
Australian basketball player Isaac Humphries came out in 2022 in an op-ed he wrote for CNN. He shared his struggles in self-acceptance and coming out but that he was ready to live a full and authentic life. "You can be a gay man and an elite basketball player in one of the best leagues in the world. I'm living proof of that. My journey to get to this point in my life was harder than it should've been, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Without those dark points, I wouldn't have been thrust into situations where I had to explore, discover, and learn to accept who I really am," he wrote.
Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo came out as gay 2021, at the time he was the first and only active, male, gay top-top flight player in the league. “I am proud to publicly announce that I am gay,” Cavallo wrote on Twitter at the time. “It’s been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out. I have been fighting my sexuality for over 6 years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.”
Anderson Comas, a minor league playerfor the Chicago White Sox organization took to social media in February 2023 to come out. "I’m proudly and happily part of the LGTBQ+ community. I’m also a human with a great soul, I’m respectful, I’m a lover, I love my family and friends and that’s what really matters,” Comas wrote on Instagram.
Matthew Mitcham is an Australian driver who not only won gold at the Beijing Games in 2008, but has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. When he brought home the gold, he also made history: Mitcham will also hold a place in the books as the first openly gay athlete to ever earn that honor.
In 2021, at age 19, Luke Prokop came out in an Instagram post, which made him the first player in the National Hockey League (NHL) to do so. Prokop, who plays for the Seattle Thunderbirds, said he was “no longer scared to hide” who he was and believes that living his authentic life “will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams.”
Ryan Russell played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to becoming a free agent. In 2019, however, he came out as bisexual in an essay on ESPN, where he wrote, “Even though openly LGBTQ people are thriving in every area of public life — politics, entertainment, the top corporations in America — they are so invisible in pro sports that a gossip blogger is doing a favor for a bisexual football player by not disclosing that he happens to date men. Nobody should need a favor to live honestly.”
Patricio Manuel initially started boxing professionally as a woman in the early 2000s, eventually earning the title of USA National Amateur Boxing Champion prior to coming out as trans. In doing so, he lost his coach, but wound up fighting Hugo Aguilar in a professional match in 2018. Not only did he win, but he also became the first openly transgender boxer in the United States.
Carl Nassib has been one of the biggest names when it comes to out gay men in sports. The football player first joined the NFL in 2016. Over the course of his career, Nassib has played for the Cleveland Browns, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Las Vegas Raiders. In 2021, he came out as a gay man – prompting pundits to wonder whether or not he’d get drafted to play another season. Thankfully, it has now been announced that Nassib will play for the Buccaneers in 2022.
British diver Tom Daley is one of the most famous Olympians in the world. In 2020, Daley won an Olympic gold medal and solidified his career even further. Outside of sports, Daley is married to Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk), with whom he has a son. As of 2022, the diver released his memoir, Coming Up for Air, and released a documentary film titled Illegal to Be Me.
Derrick Gordon came out as far back as 2015 and became the first out gay basketball player in the NCAA’s Division I. Throughout his career, Gordon played for various teams that included Western Kentucky, UMass, and Seton Hall. He was unfortunately not drafted to play in the NBA, but Gordon is still a high-profile figure in sports who proudly represented the LGBTQ+ community years before other athletes had the courage to disclose their sexual orientations.
Another notable gay athlete is Bradley Kim, who made a name for himself in Air Force football and came out against all odds. With a half-Korean and half-German background, Kim was a star football player in high school and went on to play for the Air Force Falcons while serving. Now, Kim is dedicating most of his time to launching a career in music.
In August 2022, Travis Shumake is making history as the first out gay driver to compete in the National Hot Rod Association racing circuit. Even though he has a lot to live up to as the son of legendary driver Tripp Shumake, Travis is carving his own path and making history in his own terms. He is also representing the LGBTQ+ community in a sport that is largely considered to be a straight-centric space.
Michael Sam made a lot of headlines when he publicly came out as gay in 2014 following the end of his college football career. There was a lot of hype behind Sam being signed to a team in the NFL, but unfortunately, that didn’t come to pass. Some experts pointed to Sam’s coming-out story as a big reason why he wasn’t signed, but he moved on from that experience and has been thriving ever since. Among his televised appearances, Sam competed on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars season 20 and appeared in the Netflix docuseries Coming Out Colton in 2021.
Gus Kenworthy is arguably the most famous gay Olympian in the US. He is also considered a big heartthrob in the LGBTQ+ community, going as far as landing acting roles on shows like American Horror Story: 1984 and Will & Grace. Kenworthy’s other notable projects include his recurring role as Colton Underwood’s “gay guide” on Coming Out Colton and his stint in the music video for CANN’s “Taste So Good.”
Robbie Rogers came out as gay in 2013 and became the second-ever male soccer player in Britain to do so. Though he is best known for playing soccer in the UK, Rogers is American and played for the United States national team as well. Throughout his career, Rogers played for teams like Leeds United and Los Angeles Galaxy. Outside of sports, he is married to Hollywood writer and producer Greg Berlanti, with whom he has a daughter.